Home > Art > Mezcala Standing Shaman Figure (M-12 Type)
About the Object
The remarkably well-preserved standing shaman figure seen here was carved and polished from an unknown green stone by the Mezcala. Scholars argue this figure represents a scholar, based on the extremely unique headdress atop the head of this human effigy or sculpture. More figures may have had such a feature and been damaged. The work is further distinguished by the rounded eyes, double cuts creating the ears of the figure, the slight nose, and indented mouth often present in Mezcala artworks. Further horizontal and vertical cuts identify the arms and, later, the legs of the figure, which were likely the original blade of the celt, or hand axe, from which this work was recycled and carved.
This unique Mezcala figure captures the abstract complexity of the Mezcala tradition. The green color of the work likely connects it to ideas of spiritual and physical renewal, the cycle of life and the journey awaiting elite individuals on their departure to the afterlife. Such objects demonstrate high social status and could also act as mediums of ritual exchange and alliance making.
[Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY];
Curnoe, Jessica, Gillett G. Griffin, and Peter T. Furst. Sculpture and Cosmology in Ancient Guerrero. New York, NY: Throckmorton Fine Art, 2008, figure 7.
Iman Issa receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for exploring, through works of various media, difficult philosophical questions, such as the individual’s relationship to places, figures, and events that are collectively familiar, or the difference between experience and recognition.
Meleko Mokgosi receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for paintings that rely on intensive research, reflection, and conversation in order to address widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans, and to accurately portray the continent’s complex social and political realities.
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